Mississippi River Gallery

America’s longest river is ready for you to explore

And the best part is—it’s right outside our doors!

The Mississippi River (Mníšošethąka or Wakpá Tháŋka in Dakota, Misi-ziibi in Ojibwe) snakes through St. Paul on its 2,340 mile journey south to the Gulf of Mexico.

This great river starts right here in Minnesota at Lake Itasca, and you can explore its little beginnings, ancient origins, and Minnesota’s changing environments and weather patterns in the Mississippi River Gallery.

Within this gallery, you’ll be able to alter Minnesota’s weather in hands-on experiments, try your hand at navigating a barge, see a real towboat outside on a balcony, be a part of natural history by trading objects at the Collectors’ Corner, and examine the waterway ecosystems we all share.

Adults and children in Mississippi river gallery

Ahoy, Mississippi matey!

Driving a large boat down any river is no easy task. Try it by yourself or with a co-captain as you look out on the giant, winding Mississippi River below.

Get fit to lift fish

Can you find enough strength to reel in a heavy lake sturgeon? Find out if you’re fit enough to lift these massive fish!

Two children using experiment to feel what it's like to reel in a heavy lake sturgeon.
Image of taxidermied Loon in Mississippi River Gallery

No need to take a trip up north

Lake Itasca is right here! Transport yourself to the land of loons, muskies, and towering pines near the source of the Mississippi through intricate landscape dioramas and an original state park signpost.

Collect, trade, collect again

At the Collectors’ Corner, traders of all ages can bring in the objects they find outdoors. The more you know about it, the more points you get in return!

Image of people at Collectors' corner at SMM